I am not a photographer or a camera technician. My trade is a Builder/Carpenter and in between construction projects I took up film photography as a hobby, mainly B&W film which I develop in Caffenol . This led on to picking up the odd SLR camera bargain on eBay and other sites. The collection has quickly grown to about 10 cameras mainly Nikons & Canons of the 1970’s & 80’s.
Film photographs have a different look to them which I quite like and black & white film photography is a real challenge and very rewarding when a good image is produced. The old cameras have a nice mechanical & metal feel to them and can produce excellent images comparable to expensive DSLR’s.
The draw back with colour film is now the cost at 50c per shot, purchased and developed. On viewing the Franken Camera Project I figured this would be a good challenge to see if I could fit a complete Sony Nex to a film camera and make it work as the electric film, leaving the old SLR camera to be the actual camera taking the photos. I have no skill with electronics, so I set out to make this a practical solution with the main criteria being that the SLR film camera could convert back to being an original film camera and so maintain the increasing value.
Ideas of extension cables to the sensor were proven possible but way to costly. So I figured out a way to change the layout of components inside the Sony Nex so that the connection cables from the motherboard to the sensor could be looped over the shutter. My first Nex 5 went up in smoke when I must have cooked the processor. So I bought a few more and found that the Sony Nex 3 was easier to fit. After spending nearly 2 months on prototype testing and mounting the failed Nex 5, the Nex 3 was installed and working in a few hours. I kept a blog diary on XoverCameras detailing the project from inception.
My idea with this site is to provide a number of pages that show how to do a simple installation of a digital back to a film camera. I am going to experiment with other Mirrorless models and brands to improve on my first prototype and share all the information. I am hoping that other camera enthusiasts will take up the challenge and I’m certain that persons with more skills than mine will do a much nicer job. If so, make sure you share it with all of us and build on my first steps of progress that will get some great old film cameras off the collectors shelves and back out there taking great photos.
If you have any queries or wish to share your own project, then I’d be glad to hear from you. – Robin Guymer.